MINISTRY TRANSITIONS, INTERIM MINISTRY
Also includes: Beginning and Ending a Ministry
The following ministry resources focus on interim ministry and helping church leaders and congregations during pastoral transitions. It is divided into the following sections:
- Persevering in Difficult Situations — For Ministers
- Avoiding Involuntary Termination — For Ministers
- Achieving Long Tenure — For Ministers
- Discerning Whether to Transition — For Ministers
- Guides to the Candidating Process — For Ministers
- Discerning Fit for New Call — For Ministers
- Guides to Transitioning to Different Careers – for Ministers
- Guides to Ending, Leave-Taking — For Ministers
- Guides to Beginning a New Work – For Those Who are New to Ministry
- Guides to Beginning a New Work – For Both New and Experienced Ministers
- Guides to the Pastoral Search Process — For Congregations
- Guides to Interim Ministry — For Congregations and Ministers
- Succession Planning — For Congregations and Ministers
Readers may also be interested in the section on Interim Ministry Consulting.
FIRST READS FOR MINISTERS AND CONGREGATIONS
First Read for Ministers:
- Michael J. Anthony and Mick Boersma, Moving On-Moving Forward: A Guide for Pastors in Transition – A comprehensive guide for church pastors on the processes of search, candidating, placement, and transition.
First Reads for Congregations:
- Loren B. Mead, A Change of Pastors And How It Affects Change in the Congregation – Explains why transition periods are extraordinarily pregnant moments full of both positive and negative potential, and how to make the most of all dimensions of congregational development, pastoral search and pastoral transition.
- Roy Oswald, James W. Heath, and Ann W. Heath, Beginning Ministry Together: The Alban Handbook for Clergy Transitions — A workbook that addresses transitions from the point at which a minister announces his resignation to the beginning of a new minister’s work.
RESOURCES FOR SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF MINISTRY TRANSITIONS AND INTERIM MINISTRY
Persevering in Difficult Situations — For Ministers (See also, Strengthening and Renewing the Call to Ministry)
- Blaine Allen, Before You Quit – When Ministry is Not What You Thought — Helps ministers persevere in their call and commitment in stressful times.
- Dean R. Hoge and Jacqueline E. Wenger, Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry — Explains the seven main reasons pastors leave congregational ministry and suggests ways to prevent departures.
Avoiding Involuntary Termination — For Ministers
- Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman, Preventing Ministry Failure: A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers – Reflects on realities that lead to involuntary termination. Suggests seven foundations for long-term ministry.
- Dennis R. Maynard, When Sheep Attack – Addresses what happens when a small group of antagonists maneuver successfully to completely derail a ministry, despite strong support from the vast majority of the congregation.
Achieving Long Tenure — For Ministers
- Paul Hopkins, Pursuing Pastoral Excellence: Pathways to Fruitful Leadership – Lays out the consistent patterns found in those who have long-term ministries in one place. Profiles seven ministers to derive seven benchmarks for longevity.
- Glenn Ludwig, In It for the Long Haul: Building Effective Long-Term Pastorates – Gleans from a carefully selected panel of ministers with long pastorates, discusses the many factors that work together to create tenure.
Discerning Whether to Transition — For Ministers
- James M. Antal, Considering a New Call: Ethical and Spiritual Challenges for Clergy – Offers thoughtful wisdom on the spiritual and ethical quandaries of conducting discussions with one church while professionally involved with another.
- John R. Cionca, Before You Move: A Guide to Making Transitions in Ministry — Helps ministers assess whether to pursue transition, and if so, whether to accept an invitation. Final chapters present the best practices on pastoral assessment and the candidating process.
- Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward – Not addressed to ministry situations, but offers good insights on discerning when it is time to move on.
Guides to the Candidating Process — For Ministers
- Michael J. Anthony and Mick Boersma, Moving On-Moving Forward: A Guide for Pastors in Transition — A comprehensive guide to transitions, including a good section on candidating.
- John R. Cionca, Before You Move: A Guide to Making Transitions in Ministry — Final chapters present the best practices on pastoral assessment and the candidating process.
Discerning Fit for a New Call – For Ministers
- Kennon Callahan, A New Beginning for Pastors and Congregations: Building an Excellent Match Upon Your Shared Strengths — Especially good at helping ministers and congregations conduct the search process in a way that achieves effective matches.
- Herb Miller, Leadership is the Key: Unlocking Your Ministry Effectiveness — Profiles several dynamics to help ministers perceive the best ministry fit.
- Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Leadership That Fits Your Church: What Kind of Pastor for What Kind of Congregation – Probably the largest, most definitive study every conducted on what ministers and churches do to work together effectively. Helps to establish good matches in minister search, and to understand important factors in ministry support systems, self-care and burnout issues.
Guides to Transitioning to Different Careers – For Ministers
- James E. Hightower and W. Craig Gilliam, A Time for Change? Re-Visioning Your Call – Addresses situations where ministers may migrate out of ministry into another career field.
Guides to Ending, Leave-Taking — For Ministers
- Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward – Not addressed to ministry situations, but offers good insights on navigating the complexity of relational endings.
- Lawrence W. Farris, Ten Commandments for Pastors Leaving a Congregation — Probably the best succinct guide for healthfully ending a pastoral role.
- Edwin H. Friedman, Generation to Generation: Family Processes in Church and Synagogue — Chapter 10, “Leaving and Entering a Congregational Family” is an excellent application of family systems theory to leave-taking, particularly in challenging the “lame duck myth.”
- Roy Oswald, Running Through the Thistles: Terminating a Ministerial Relationship With a Parish — Challenges the quick, “get-out-of-Dodge” mentality of leave-taking by proposing a healthier series of termination tasks.
- Edward A. White, Editor, Saying Goodbye: A Time of Growth for Congregations and Pastors – A collection of articles on eight dimensions of ministry terminations. Appendices include helpful checklists.
Guides to Beginning a New Work – For Those Who are New to Ministry
- Paul C. Clayton, Letters to Lee: Mentoring the New Minister – Clayton, a retired minister and seminary lecturer, offers the wisdom of many years of ministry to young ministers in the form of pastoral letters.
- Allan Hugh Cole, Editor, From Midterms to Ministry: Practical Theologians on Pastoral Beginnings – A collection of essays on “pastoral” theology for persons who are moving from Bible college or seminary to the world of ministry. (In Pastoral Theology)
- T. Scott Daniels, The First 100 Days: A Pastor’s Guide – Covers some of the subjects one would expect on the things to do in the first 100 days of a new ministry, but more importantly, he emphasizes the importance of self-knowledge, listening, and building trust and authentic relationship.
- Bruce G. Epperly, Starting With Spirit: Nurturing Your Call to Pastoral Leadership — Covers all of the important topics for those new to ministry. Approaches transition is a spiritual practice.Lynda C. Ward and Steven P. Bray, Ready, Set, Lead!: The New Pastor’s Guide to Starting Ministry — An excellent guide to navigating the many new tasks and relationships faced by a new minister fresh out of school.
Guides to Beginning a New Work – For Both New and Experienced Ministers
- Lawrence F. Farris, Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation — Excellent, well-written guide on beginning with a new church.
- Michael J. Coyner, Making A Good Move: Opening the Door to a Successful Pastorate – Breaks transitional tasks down into helpful timelines and directive lists for first weeks, months, and years in a new location.
- Neal O. Michell, How to Hit the Ground Running: A Quick-Start Guide for Congregations with New Leadership – A very thorough guide covering one month before to 18 months into a new minister’s work. Limited to Episcopal churches, but with broadly applicable insight.
Guides to the Pastoral Search Process — For Congregations
- Chris Brauns, When the Word Leads Your Pastor Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search – An excellent guide that steers ministers and search committees away from superficial, “image-based” exchanges between ministers and churches during a search process, and toward a more biblical framework for the entire transition.
- Bunty Ketcham and Celia Allison Hahn, So You’re On the Search Committee – A unique contribution to literature on the pastoral search process, addressed specifically to the challenges and opportunities faced by search committee members.
- Charles M. Olsen and Ellen Morseth, Selecting Church Leaders: A Practice in Spiritual Discernment – Suggests spiritual practices for congregations and candidates to align themselves with God’s intentions. See also Danny E. Morris and Charles M. Olsen, Discerning God’s Will Together: A Spiritual Practice for the Church, that expands on the practices of corporate spiritual discernment.
- John Vonhoff, The Pastoral Search Journey: A Guide to Finding Your Next Pastor — A helpful technical guide available on pastoral search dimension of ministerial transitions.
Guides to Interim Ministry — For Congregations and Ministers
- Roger S. Nicholson, Temporary Shepherds: A Congregational Handbook for Interim Ministry — Probably the most comprehensive resource on interim ministry.
- William O. Avery, Revitalizing Congregations: Refocusing and Healing through Pastoral Transitions — A detailed retelling of the story of six congregations working through very conflict-ridden pastoral transitions. Stresses the importance of interim ministry.
- Alan G. Gripe, The Interim Pastor’s Manual — A how-to manual for ministers and congregations in full-time residential interim arrangements.
- Loren B. Mead, A Change of Pastors And How It Affects Change in the Congregation – See description above under “First Reads for Ministers and Congregations.”
- Molly Dale Smith, Editor, Transitional Ministry: A Time of Opportunity – A good collection of articles on all the dynamics of intentional interim ministry.
Succession Planning — For Congregations and Ministers
- Carolyn Weese and J. Russell Crabtree, The Elephant in the Boardroom: Speaking the Unspoken About Pastoral Transitions – How to Think About and Create a Strategic Succession Plan for Your Church — A guide to help churches anticipate and plan for a transition long before it occurs.
- David L. McKenna, The Leader’s Legacy — Lays out 12 principles gleaned from the succession of John the Baptist to Jesus, along with wisdom from his own 50 years as pastor, educator, and executive in higher education.
- Bob Buford, Finishing Well: What People Who Really Live Do Differently! — Insights on finishing strong gleaned from interviews with 60 outstanding leaders.
- Robert M. Galford and Regina Fazio Maruca, Your Leadership Legacy: Why Looking to the Future Will Make You a Better Leader – Discusses how to plan for one’s legacy by passing along the best of oneself now.
- Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, The Hero’s Farewell: What Happens When CEOs Retire — Written for corporate CEOs, describes in rich detail the factors that affect executive succession.
Related Ministry Resources
See Description of Interim Ministry Consulting
See Ministry Resources in Related Areas:
- Church Administration
- Christian Leadership for Transition and Change in Church
- Church Leadership, Church Health and Renewal
- Christian Leadership for Peacemaking in Church Conflict
- Church Staff, Ministry Teams
See Resource Guides on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry: